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AFL legend Dani Laidley pays tribute to her new girlfriend by wearing ‘D’ earrings

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AFL footy great Dani Laidley has paid tribute to her new lover by sporting earrings in her honour during a visit to her former footy club. 

Laidley, who played in a premiership winning team with the Kangaroos, returned to the North Melbourne Football Club to celebrate it officially becoming debt free after years of turmoil. 

The ex-coach brought along her latest girlfriend ‘Donna’, who has stood by her during recent controversies, including an appearance at court this month. 

Donna (left) and Dani Laidley arrive at the North Melbourne Football Club on Friday

Donna (left) and Dani Laidley arrive at the North Melbourne Football Club on Friday 

Dani Laidley was coaching the Kangaroos when it faced financial ruin

Dani Laidley was coaching the Kangaroos when it faced financial ruin

Former North Melbourne senior coach Dani Laidley is greeted by former player and current assistant coach John Blakey on Friday

Former North Melbourne senior coach Dani Laidley is greeted by former player and current assistant coach John Blakey on Friday

Laidley has not been seen publicly with the Kangaroos since being outed as transgender last year by members of Victoria Police.

The former footballer, who coached the club from 2003 to 2009, wore a leopard skin printed shirt, gold-rimmed glasses and matching earrings sporting the letter ‘D’ – believed to be in tribute to her new girlfriend. 

The 54-year old mingled with some of her former teammates at a media conference on Friday where the Kangaroos announced they had paid off a debt that had been hanging over its head since 1987. 

‘(I’m) very happy to be here, very proud of the efforts and what has been achieved by everyone to look back now and say the right decision was made (to stay in Melbourne),’ Laidley told the gathering.

In a gushing speech, Laidley praised her former club for the positive impact it had had on her since her move from the West Coast Eagles in 1993.

Laidley played 52 games with the Eagles from 1987 to 1992 before joining the Kangaroos. 

Laidley used the opportunity to promote transgender awareness, which she referred to as her ‘other tribe’. 

‘The club impacted my life in more ways than one,’ she said. 

‘Every Shinboner supporter should be proud today. 

‘It’s great being back at the North Melbourne Football Club for this important announcement of being debt free, also on the back of Transgender awareness week, as I am proud of both of my tribes.’

Former North Melbourne senior coaches Brad Scott and Dani Laidley speak during a North Melbourne press conference on Friday

Former North Melbourne senior coaches Brad Scott and Dani Laidley speak during a North Melbourne press conference on Friday 

Former North Melbourne senior coach Dani Laidley and Darren Crocker were all smiles on Friday

Former North Melbourne senior coach Dani Laidley and Darren Crocker were all smiles on Friday 

Dani Laidley received a hero's welcome back to her old stomping ground

Dani Laidley received a hero’s welcome back to her old stomping ground 

Former North Melbourne player Brent Harvey and Dani Laidley on Friday

Former North Melbourne player Brent Harvey and Dani Laidley on Friday 

Laidley said she had always felt supported at the club by its administration and the  North Melbourne supporters.

‘Personally and on behalf of the club, I would like to acknowledge the playing group, our coaches, football support staff, the club administration, our sponsors and most importantly our supporters who came along to watch us week in week out,’ she said.

‘We may not have quite made the last day in September during my time as the senior coach, but we can be very proud of the part every person played in keeping our football here at Arden Street.

‘Whenever I drive past, I’m personally over the moon at where our football club is today and the very bright long term future ahead, I’m exceptionally proud as Shinboner #826.’

Laidley had been coaching the club in 2007 when it  famously rejected a massive financial offer from the AFL to turn its back on Melbourne and relocate to the Gold Coast. 

Her appearance at the event on Friday marks Laidley’s first positive public appearance since her disgraceful outing by Victoria Police in May last year. 

Laidley had been found with a quantity of methamphetamine stashed in her bra in a prison cell when an officer snapped her photo.

The photographs showed Laidley wearing a wig and make-up and were shared on social media and published by some news outlets. 

Laidley and her new partner Donna arrive at the Kangaroos on Friday

Laidley and her new partner Donna arrive at the Kangaroos on Friday 

Laidley spoke fondly about her experience with the Kangaroos

Laidley spoke fondly about her experience with the Kangaroos 

It is the first time Laidley has been seen willingly on the public stage since her arrest in May last year

It is the first time Laidley has been seen willingly on the public stage since her arrest in May last year 

A Melbourne court eventually agreed to place Laidley on a diversion program, which allows first time offenders a chance to avoid convictions, on the provision she wrote a letter of thanks to the police officer who arrested her. 

Laidley made national news in May last year when police leaked photos of her dressed as a woman while being held in custody.  

Thirteen police officers and support staff were suspended or transferred to other duties following the scandal and several were charged.

Laidley earlier this year launched civil action in Victoria’s Supreme Court against the force, alleging officers sought to expose her to ‘humiliation and ridicule’ by circulating her images in custody. 

Earlier this month, police upset Laidley again when a secretly-taken photo of her was shared among police officers.

A group of Victoria Police officers reportedly shared a picture of her on a day out at Geelong Racecourse for the Ballan Cup.

Dani Laidley was a champion coach and player when she was known as Dean Laidley

Dani Laidley was a champion coach and player when she was known as Dean Laidley  

Laidley was outted by Victoria Police after her arrest in May last year

Laidley was outted by Victoria Police after her arrest in May last year 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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